Jenni Rivera in Two Voices, Three Editions
The memoir by the late singer and actress Jenni Rivera scored a couple of unusual achievements last week, placing three different editions of the book among the top 25 adult nonfiction titles on Nielsen BookScan for the week ended July 7. The highest-ranking edition of the memoir, which was released July 2, was the Spanish-language trade paperback version, Inquebrantable, which sold close to 9,000 copies at outlets that report to BookScan in its first week on sale. That edition landed at #8 on the Trade Paperback list, which is a mix of fiction and nonfiction titles. Ranked solely against nonfiction competition, Inquebrantable’s performance put it at #6 in all formats, selling 1,500 more copies than the late Chris Kyle’s American Gun in hardcover. The English-language hardcover, Unbreakable, did well, too, coming in at #12 on the Hardcover Nonfiction list, selling just over 6,200 copies at BookScan outlets. The English-language trade paperback edition debuted at #22, with over 4,400 copies sold. Combined, the three editions across two languages made Rivera’s memoir the top-selling adult nonfiction title last week.
Atria, publisher of all editions, reports that it has gone back to press 17 times and that all print versions together now have more than 300,000 copies in circulation. In addition to Spanish- and English-language hardcover and trade paperback editions, there is also a trade paperback exclusive for Walmart out in both languages as well as two e-book editions (no word on e-book sales).
Rivera was riding a surge of popularity when she died, along with six others, in a plane crash in Mexico last December. She was 43.—Jim Milliot
Hamilton’s Fine ‘Affliction’: Confronting a Zombie Disease, Deliciously
Berkley Books celebrates 20 years of Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter urban fantasy series, as the latest installment (the 22nd in the series), Affliction, debuts at the #4 spot on this week’s Hardcover Fiction list, having sold over 18,000 copies. The series began back in 1993 with Guilty Pleasures, and, as her publisher Berkley is quick to point out, “Hamilton has been recognized as one of the first authors to usher in the new era in vampire fiction.” Hamilton blends a variety of genres throughout the series, utilizing tropes from noir crime thrillers to paranormal fantasy, and over time she has steadily increased the books’ erotic content. In Affliction, Anita must confront a deadly “zombie disease” that threatens her lover’s father.
Hamilton is active on social media and regularly corresponds with fans on her blog, where recently she explained that an illness interrupted the planning stages of a book tour meant to commemorate the series’ 20th anniversary. On the upside, she noted that her health has returned, which hopefully means further installments of the series for her legions of fans and perhaps a 21st birthday party, where her books will legally be allowed to drink.
Aside from Anita Blake, Hamilton is also responsible for the Merry Gentry series, about a faerie princess private investigator. This series is currently on hiatus, though Hamilton has plans for a ninth installment.—Alex Crowley
The Force and the Bard Are with You
Landing today at #17 on our Hardcover Fiction List is William Shakespeare’s Star Wars—a book whose time has clearly come, as witnessed by several notable authors. Says Jason Fry, author of Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare, “Whether your tastes run to Alderaan or Avon, this reimagining of Star Wars overflows with heart and wit.” And Scoundrels author Timothy Zahn notes, “For those who wish to read the Star Wars legend in the original Elizabethan, this is the book for you.” Huffington Post books editor Andrew Losowsky included the title on NY1’s “The Book Reader” segment, in which he gave his entire review in verse.
Quirk premiered the book trailer on Entertainment Weekly’s “Shelf Life” on June 28, and it’s since had 200,000+ views on sites such as BoingBoing, CNET.com, Suvudu, BroadwayWorld.com, et al. NPR’s Morning Edition featured the book on July 2, and some 150 fans, including the 501st Legion, attended a Powell’s Cedar Crossings event at which author Ian Doescher presented dramatic readings. Google, noting a spike in Star Wars searches over the July 6 weekend, attributed the trend to Doescher’s book. A Google spokesperson discussed WSSW on Today’s July 8 show, and Doescher was interviewed on NPR’s Here and Now on July 10.
According to Quirk publisher Jason Rekulak, “We really love genre-bending and genre-blending books. What would happen if you mixed a little X with some Y? Sometimes the result is a dud; other times it’s so incredible, you can’t believe no one’s ever thought to do it before.” Back in 2008 Quirk “thought to do it” big time, publishing a gender-bending title that captured the public fancy and jumped onto the national charts: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has sold more than one million copies. Its two sequels, Dawn of the Dreadfuls and Dreadfully Ever After, launched three more zany zingers: Meowmorphosis, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and—this columnist’s favorite— Android Karenina.—Dick Donahue
Fond of one-word titles (Broken, Criminal, Faithless, Fallen, etc.) that consistently sail past sales of 100,000 copies, crime writer Karin Slaughter brings forth her 13th thriller, Unseen, and it debuts on our Hardcover Fiction in its first week at #11, with 8,607 copies sold. Her very first thriller, Blindsighted, published in 2001, starred a smalltown pediatrician and coroner, Sara Linton, in the first of the Grant County series. It made Slaughter an international bestseller, hitting #1 on lists in Germany, the U.K., and Holland. This January, as reported in PW, Slaughter signed a seven-figure audio deal. Unseen is her fifth book merging the characters in fictional Grant County with those in her Will Trent/Atlanta series (Slaughter is a native Georgian), and features Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Trent masquerading as violent ex-con Bill Black to thwart a drug dealer. PW’s review on May 31 said that “the twisted plot and shocking reveals remind readers why Slaughter remains a dominant voice in crime fiction.”
Long a champion of libraries, Slaughter launched the Save the Libraries Campaign in 2011, and her multicity tour through California and Georgia in July to promote Unseen includes events at several libraries. According to publicist Lindsey Kennedy at Random House, Slaughter will also meet fans at the Sacramento Bee Book Club and Atlanta’s Margaret Mitchell House—the latter a must-visit tour stop for many Southern writers. With an appearance scheduled this fall on Turner Classic Movies as part of their A Night at the Movies series, and with 115,000 copies of Unseen in print, it’s unlikely that Slaughter’s career will ever be “gone with the wind.”—Louisa Ermelino